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Use Of Alcohol In Treatment Of Fevers

Alcohol has long been regarded as a valuable remedy in typhoid and other fevers, partly by reason of its cooling effect, but perhaps still more because it is capable of serving in some degree as a foodstuff, replacing starches and sugars. In fever the higher temperature of the body has been considered to favour the oxidation of the alcohol, so that a larger quantity can be utilised than could be used up in normal circumstances. During its administration, however, the effects must be carefully watched to guard against injurious action on the nervous system, which may occur with certain classes of patient. In modern medical practice alcohol is used much more sparingly than formerly, even in the treatment of fevers. Evidence of this is found in the decreasing amount of money spent on alcoholic stimulants by certain hospitals during recent years. Thus in seven of the large London hospitals the aggregate expenditure on alcoholic liquids was £3,740 during the year 1892; but in 1912, with more patients under treatment, it had decreased to £1,238, or less than one-third of the former amount.


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